Colombian Government To Halt Military Actions for Handover of FARC Hostages

By Dialogo
March 27, 2012

On March 25, the Colombian government declared its ready to suspend Military operations in the areas where the FARC guerrilla group will unilaterally release ten uniformed personnel whom it has in its power and whom it announced it will hand over between April 2 and April 4.

“If (the FARC) turns over the information on March 31 before 7:00 p.m. local time, Military operations can be halted in that geographical area starting at 6:00 p.m. local time on April 1, until 6:00 a.m. local time on April 3,” Deputy Defense Minister Jorge Bedoya told reporters.

A similar arrangement will apply to the second stage of the releases, which should be carried out on April 4, according to the timeline that the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) communicated to former senator Piedad Córdoba, who leads a civil-society group that is acting as a mediator in the releases.

Deputy Minister Bedoya warned that if the FARC does not provide information about the areas within the expected timeframe, “they would be failing to carry out the protocol (that they accepted previously), and that would infringe on any security conditions for these ten Colombian citizens to arrive home safe and sound.”

Bedoya attended a meeting held at the delegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), responsible for the arrangements to receive the hostages, along with delegates from Brazil, which will supply the two helicopters for the operation.

The object of the meeting was to define the logistical details of the operation after the FARC announced the new dates for the release of the six police officers and four Military personnel who have been held in the depths of the jungle for between 12 and 13 years.

Initially, the FARC had set March 26 as the start of the releases, but that date was considered premature for logistical reasons by the ICRC and the Colombian and Brazilian Governments.